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News | May 31, 2019

DCMA Philadelphia hosts engineering summit

By Tonya Johnson DCMA Public Affairs

Defense Contract Management Agency Philadelphia and its two streamlined contract management offices, DCMA New Cumberland and DCMA Pittsburgh, hosted a two-day engineering summit May 7-8 at the Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This was the third summit hosted by DCMA Philadelphia.

The first summit was held in March 2018. The summit was originally started for DCMA Philadelphia, New Cumberland and Pittsburgh, but leaders realized it was an event other offices could benefit from. DCMA Philadelphia typically hosts a summit every six months with DCMA New Cumberland taking the lead in planning. The purpose of the summit is to provide training, develop procedures based on DCMA policies, and to share best practices.

“The summit allows us to develop consistent and common approaches to engineering surveillance and tasks,” said Terry Kerr, an engineering team leader at DCMA New Cumberland. “We started inviting other local contract management offices after the first summit. We’re excited that it has grown to where other offices in the Eastern Region are participating. Everyone benefits from the communication.”

The recent summit participants also included engineering representatives from the Eastern Regional Command and five other contract management offices, including DCMA Baltimore; DCMA Boeing Philadelphia; DCMA Lockheed Martin, Moorestown, New Jersey; DCMA Northrop Grumman Baltimore and DCMA Springfield, New Jersey. Approximately 40 people attended the event.

Topics discussed on the first day included the pricing management capability website; non-conforming material and requests for variance; and the engineering change proposal verification and validation. The team also discussed the contract data requirements’ lists and the Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements related to DCMA’s engineering responsibilities.

On the second day, the team broke into working groups to review DCMA policies and manuals and brief new requirements, including gaps when compared to previous policies and recommendations for implementation. The policies reviewed by the groups were DCMA Instruction 2303 on Surveillance; DCMA Manual 2303-03, Surveillance – Execute with Standard Techniques; and DCMA Instruction 2401 on Negotiation Intelligence.

In addition, the group reviewed DCMA Manual 2401-01on Negotiation Intelligence Procedures; DCMA Instruction 2501on Contract Maintenance; and DCMA Manual 2501-01on Contract Receipt and Review.

“One highlight of the recent summit is that all of the participating offices will take one common approach to implementing new policy as it relates to engineering,” said Kerr.

“This event is important because it provides a forum where leaders and journeyman engineers can ask questions,” he added. “In the end, our customers and the warfighter benefit the most because we become better and more efficient at performing our engineering duties.”

Michael Torner, a DCMA New Cumberland electronics engineer, said he enjoyed the discussion.

“It’s nice to get out of the normal work environment and meet my peers from other offices and discuss their approaches to common tasks,” said Torner. “The engineers were able to leverage surveillance best practices regionally and engage in multifaceted discussion forums. The discussions aided in providing engineers with external insight and techniques utilized to evaluate and influence contractors to provide better systems engineering products.”

Lynne Dillman, an engineering team leader at DCMA Philadelphia, said the contract management office will continue to host these types of summits on a regular basis.

“We host a summit every six months because each summit builds off the previous summit,” she said. “For example, at this May summit, we discussed recently released policies and ideas for implementing them. At the next summit, we will discuss how offices have implemented the policies, lessons learned and best practices.”

Overall, Jason Digon, an engineering team leader at DCMA Pittsburgh, said the event helps DCMA employees who work at different locations collaborate more and enhance their teamwork.

“There is definitely more teaming and awareness when it comes to working through common issues,” he said. “The contract management offices are sharing local procedures. Team leaders are discussing work items outside of the summit such as DPMAP (Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program) contribution plans for their employees and training.

“For each consecutive summit, the number of participants has grown. It’s great that we’re sharing best practices and working through common challenges.”